It still has to go through conference committee, but the differences with the House version are minimal. Which means we're going to see whether President No will back up his first veto threat.
Over/under on how long it will take him to do it: the number of seconds it takes for him to put down his scorecard pencil and pick up his veto pen:
The Senate passed legislation Thursday approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, setting up a looming veto showdown with the White House.
The legislation passed on a 62-36 vote, after lawmakers spent weeks considering amendments. The House passed a similar bill earlier this month, though there are slight differences that have to be ironed out before the bill can go to President Obama’s desk.
The vote nevertheless marked the first time the Senate has voted to approve the controversial Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline. Nine Democrats joined with 53 Republicans to back the measure.
“Constructing Keystone would pump billions into our economy,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said before the vote. “It would support thousands of good American jobs and as the president’s own State Department has indicated, it would do this with minimal environmental impact.”
Russ Girling, CEO of the company behind the project TransCanada, said in a statement Thursday afternoon the firm was “encouraged” by the “strong bipartisan” showing in the Senate.
And Barack Obama will veto it because he doesn't want billions pumped into our economy from anyplace except the federal treasury, he doesn't want plentiful domestic energy, he doesn't want people to be able to afford to drive their cars more instead of the unicycles and hippety-hops he demands we use for transportation to make every American city look like friggin' Hanoi, and he doesn't want any American living anywhere outside the cave with Moon Watcher praying the killer leopard doesn't show up to eat them. And since since both the House (13) and Senate (4) vote tallies were short of veto-proof majorities, the Keystone XL pipeline bill isn't going to become law in this Congress. Indeed, WTH sagely points out that the nine Senate Democrats who did vote "yea" probably did so to be able to be on record as having supported Keystone XL (this time) while knowing that their demigod was going to kill it and the votes aren't there for an override. And we also know that the Canadians aren't going to wait around forever for their southern neighbors to get this done.
But this is what the 114th Congress must do for the next year-plus: Pass one popular conservative bill after another and make the rigid, inflexible leftwing zealot at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue kill every last one of them, throwing another backhoe full of dirt on his party's 2016 coffin with each swipe of that veto pen. Well, actually, Boehner and McConnell won't have to "make" O launch his fusillade of vetos, as he's pretty much already done so preemptively. Which is why those really weren't veto "threats" he issued.
Keystone XL was the GOP's first salvo. Hopefully the DHS appropriation showdown next month doesn't misfire and blow up the "gun".